Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cloth Wipes 101: The Basic of using Cloth Wipes!

Guest Post by Elizabeth

So you’ve taken the plunge into cloth diapering and you’re on the fence, should you continue using disposable wipes or try your hand at cloth wipes? You’ve come to the right place because you’ve stepped into Cloth Wipes 101!

First things first you need to decide on the kind of fabric you want your wipes to consist of. There are many fabric choices out there and like any parenting decision you are going to make you need to choose the one that best suits your family. Here are a few choices you’ll find out there:

Fleece (pictured): The benefit of this fabric is that it absorbs your solution easily and also creates a nice, moist surface to wipe your bambino’s bum. I have found that I only need to use two wipes per dirty diaper change when using my fleece wipes.

Flannel: This fabric is thinner and often is used on one side of the wipe. Careful though most flannel fabric will fade with use which is understandable given the job they have been assigned to do. 
Velour: Yes, get your old track suits out of the closet!  (Just kidding!) Like a fleece fabric, velour
absorbs the solution quite well and is also incredibly gentle on your baby’s bottom.

Terry Cloth:  Calling all washcloths! That’s what you’ll find with this kind of wipe fabric.  Beware though, if your baby has very sensitive skin and is prone to diaper the terry cloth might be too harsh on their skin.

Sherpa: This fluffy fabric is soft and cushy on the skin and also very absorbent.

Once you’ve made the decision on the kind of wipes you’re going to use you need to decide how you’re going to store the wipes. There are two ways this can be done.

1. You can use a wipes case, found to store disposable wipes, fill the case with your dry wipes and then add the solution to the case. The thing you’ll need to be careful about with this method is to no let your wipes sit in the solution too long or they will start to smell.

2. You can also use that same wipes case to store the dry cloth wipes in and then use a spray bottle filled with your wipes solution. When you need to use a wipe simply take it out and spray the wipe to your desired wetness.

There are retailers that sell wipe solution or you can make your own. I found this basic recipe and have been using it since I started using cloth wipes:

Warm water
Baby Oil (I use the cap as a measuring tool –
one cap fill)
Baby Shampoo – One long squirt.

I combine those ingredients into a Mason jar and then shake it up. The solution usually lasts me about a week or week and a half. The thing I love about making my own solution is the control I have over it. If one shampoo or oil bothers my son’s skin, I simply try another one. For example, I used a lavender scented
organic shampoo once and sure enough, the scent bothered his rash prone skin.  So it was back to the basic, unscented shampoo. No fun for Mama, who likes to fancy up her cloth diapering, but it worked for him.

Lastly, you’ll simply wash your wipes with the rest of your cloth diapers. I would recommend rinsing/washing your wipes separately from your diapers if you decided to store them in the solution.  The oil can cause absorbency issues for your diapers if they’ve been saturated in the solution for days.

Best of luck! Hopefully you’ll be as happy with the decision to use cloth wipes as I was. It’s made a huge difference for my son, who’s skin is very prone to diaper rashes. I think you’ll find that it’s not as intimidating as you thought it was!

About Elizabeth:  She's the mama behind the blog FTM, First Time Mom.  Married since 2005 to her college sweetheart and mama to 2yr old Brennan. Elizabeth is  expecting her second child, Kendall, soon.

Elizabeth says, "I really feel that even though I'm into my second pregnancy I will always be a first time mom - FTM.  Brennan will always be my "experiment" and my first everything.  Thanks for reading and joining me in on this little thing we call "motherhood.""


jeanna said...

Another widely used method is to wet the wipes with warm water and put in a wipe warmer. This is what we do and every couple of days I let it dry out and wipe it clean (with one of the many disposable wipes that I still have from gifts). If water is good enough for hospitals then it is good enough for my house. I do have a solution that I spray on the wipes if his butt starts smelling funky!

AnaMarie Tune said...

Great post! I have been putting it off, but it sounds super easy!

ECPI CLT Librarian said...

I thought I had DH on board with using cloth wipes. It was only b/c DS has rash and disposables were hurting him. Now that the rash is gone, he isn't so keen on continuing to use them. I prefer to use coconut oil and baby wash in my wipe solution. I mix it up in the peribottle they gave me at the hospital and just squirt it on the wipes. I use double sided flannel wipes and washed disposable wipes.

JodiAReed said...

I use a wipes warmer. We fold them similar to how disposable wipes are folded, so the next one pops up. And then just wet them with plain water. No wipes solution.

FreeRangeMom said...

I've been using this recipe for a long time now:

4 drops Tea Tree Oil
8 drops Lavender Oil
short pour Coconut Oil
long pour baby shampoo
3c. warm water

I use plain old gerber wash cloths, and store them in the wipes warmer. They do get a leeetle funky if I leave the solution in too long, but they usually get used up before that. I've never had any problems with absorbency, and I always wash them right along with my diapers. My son has SUPER sensitive skin, but this recipe doesn't seem to bother him at all. I feel good about having a waste-free baby, and we avoid the alcohol that is in most commercial disposable wipes.

Sue said...

I was so resistant to using cloth wipes, until I realized what a pain it is to have the extra step of trashing the disposable wipes. After picking the one millionth wipe out of the diaper velcro post-wash (from my husband throwing the wipe in with the diapers - old habits die hard and we were a disposables family for baby's first three months), I made the switch and LOVE it!

Mom of 6 boys said...

I have terry cloth & flannel wipes & I simply wet them with warm water as needed. I have also used them dry to provide a barrier between the diaper & any ointment I may have to use on the baby's bottom. My son does not get diaper rash but when he is teething he gets a rash until the tooth breaks through. The dry wipe keeps my diapers from getting ointment on them.

Anonymous said...

I bought a coffee pump pot to keep warm water in next to her changing pad. I spray her bottom with a few squirts of diluted CA baby diaper wash. Wet my wipe with the pump pot water and all clean!

Ringwalds said...

I typically store my dry wipes in a disposable container and before a diaper change get them wet in the sink. Easy and big sisters get to help by getting them wet so they love it to!

Brandi said...

We use terrycloth, and we just have them folded up on the changing thing and a squirt bottle with wipes solution. We are using the Monkey Doodlez cubes and they are lasting forever. Very economical and easy.

Birth Routes said...

I love cloth wipes, I find they make cleaning up poop SO much easier. At work (nanny) they use disposable wipes but cloth diapers and I find myself using the cloth liner as the wipe to avoid the disposables!

I use family cloth, and very much appreciate the softness of a fabric wipe.

As for cleaning solution, I wouldn't use baby oil, it is mineral oil and carcinogenic (not to mention, a by-product of the oil industry). I love highly diluted castile oil and water (like Dr. Bronner's). Simple, easy, cheap and safe!

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